November 02, 2012

Yes on Proposition 37

CUESA is among the 3,500+ organizations, farms, and professionals supporting Proposition 37 (Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods).

Proposition 37 is about transparency and the power of knowledge. What to eat is a very personal choice, and CUESA believes in providing everyone with the information they need to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. About 80% of all processed foods now contain genetically engineered ingredients, but without labeling, there’s no way of knowing which do and which don’t. And without labeling, scientists can’t do the proper research to determine whether GMO foods are harming us. Just like the laws that require ingredient labeling and nutrition facts, Proposition 37 holds big food corporations accountable for telling us what they’re putting in our food. It’s time we join the 60 other countries around the world in requiring that genetically engineered foods be labeled.

Many farmers and food artisans at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market have spoken out to support Proposition 37. Learn more about Farmers for Truth in Labeling.

You can learn more about Proposition 37 at www.carighttoknow.org.

5 Reasons to Vote Yes on Proposition 37

Declare your right to know. Proposition 37 is a simple labeling measure that requires food companies to let consumers know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. Proposition 37 does not prohibit GMOs, nor does it make any assumptions about their health value or risks. It does, however, offer consumers information about which foods contain these ingredients. At a cost of almost nothing, who can argue with increasing transparency? (Unless you’re Monsanto or Pepsi and you stand to lose market share.)

Exercise your right to choose. Internationally known scientist and activist Vandana Shiva says, “A label is just a fundamental democratic issue. It’s about the freedom of citizens’ right to know and choose.” For eaters who want to avoid GMOs, the only recourse is to buy foods that are certified organic or verified through voluntary labeling programs such as the Non-GMO Project. Whether you love GMOs or hate them, Prop 37 upholds freedom of choice.

Stand with farmers, not big corporations. Proposition 37 is supported by consumer groups, organic food companies, and farmers across the state. To date, more than 2,000 California farms have endorsed the proposition, including a number of Ferry Plaza farmers and food artisans. The opposition, on the other hand, is being financed by big pesticide and processed food companies like Monsanto, Dupont, and CocaCola, who have already spent upwards of $41 million to fight the measure. Who do you trust? (California Right to Know sets the record straight here.)

Vote for your health—and the health of the planet. While the health risks of genetically engineered foods are unknown, one thing is certain: GMOs mean increased pesticide use. New York Times food and opinion writer Mark Bittman has noted, “What most genetically engineered crops have in common is that they’re bred to be super-resistant to chemical herbicides, chemicals that will kill pretty much everything except the specified crop. And as the weeds that those chemicals are meant to kill adapt and grow bigger and stronger, more and stronger chemicals are needed to try to deal with them.” Labeling would help eaters opt out of supporting the agrichemical industry’s pesticide treadmill.

Catalyze a food movement. Nationwide, more than 1.2 million people have told the FDA they want GMO foods to be labeled. As Michael Pollan recently wrote, “California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified foods carry a label, has the potential […] to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too.” Voting for Proposition 37 will set a precedent and send a clear message to the rest of the country that Americans demand to know what’s in our food.

Get Involved

The Yes on 37 campaign needs your help. If you care about this issue, please vote on November 6. But it’s also important that you talk to your community and encourage others to vote, too. In the last few days before the election, there are many ways you can support the campaign for GMO labeling:

  • Rally your community. Volunteer at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (email emmahutchens@cuesa.org), or at one of the outreach events around the state. Join a rally and educate voters in your area.
  • Spread the word. Educate your family and friends about why labeling is important by sharing videos and information. You can find additional resources on the CUESA website.
  • Donate. Help give the California Right to Know campaign a fighting chance in standing up to biotech giants with deep pockets. Contribute to the campaign.
  • Talk to voters. Join the California Right to Know phone bank and spend a couple hours getting the facts out to swing voters throughout the state.

It’s going to be a close race. If you believe in a transparent and democratic food system, please lend a hand at this crucial time. These conversations with your friends, family, and neighbors make a difference!

Top photo by Tessa Pompa. Bottom photo by Christine Krieg (www.cksworld.com).

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »